CAR soldiers to receive counselling - SANDF

The SANDF confirmed that all troops sent to CAR have returned to the South Africa.

Paratrooper Vusumzi Ngaleka, who was killed in the Central African Republic, is laid to rest in Khayelitsha. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN

PRETORIA - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Tuesday said soldiers who returned from the Central African Republic (CAR) were receiving trauma counselling and any other support they needed.

Thirteen South African soldiers were killed and almost 30 others were injured when rebels took control of the capital, Bangui, in March.

The SANDF confirmed all soldiers were now back in South Africa, five days after reports first emerged that the withdrawal of forces was complete.

Opposition parties continue to point out what appears to be contradictions in the motives behind the CAR mission.

SANDF spokesperson Xolani Mabanga would not say how many troops were left after the battle or when they arrived home.

He said the soldiers were receiving support.

"If they have experienced any forced trauma, stress disorder or anything to that effect, then they will received [counselling]."

Mabanga said they did not take pride in the casualties on the other side.

"From the reports that we have been reading and receiving, [there could be] anything from 600 to 1,000 in casualties."

The 13 fallen SANDF soldiers were laid to rest at the weekend.

At the same time, hundreds of South African soldiers were being deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to take part in a United Nations (UN)-sanctioned mission.

The SANDF said it would not be deterred by threats from rebels in the volatile countries.